Business

Kim Kardashian West: Becoming a BossGirl Billionaire

This blog post is part of a new series where we look at successful women in different industries and learn important lessons from them.

8 min read

This blog post is part of a new series where we look at successful women in different industries and learn important lessons from them.

This year Kim Kardashian made the Forbes Billionaires list for the first time with a net worth of $1 Billion, but what led to this? Was it the infamous sex tape, years spent on screen as part of reality TV’s most notorious family, founding KKW Beauty in 2017 or remaining a majority stakeholder in her shapewear brand Skims? Did Kim’s social media omnipresence act as her secret weapon? How important was the profile-building 8 years Kim spent as one half of the 2010s most iconic couple - from going public on Kanye’s 2012 freestyle ‘Cold’, gracing the cover of Vogue, winning the respect of the fashion elites who once dismissed them, having 4 children and turning their millionaire status into billionaire status to a failed 2020 presidential campaign and public divorce.

The answer is probably a mixture of all of the above. That’s why diversification is one of the crucial lessons we can learn from Kim’s undeniable rise. Kim also shows how if you build a public profile in our social media age, you can leverage it to exponentially increase the chances of success when launching a business venture like Skims. Like so many entrepreneurs Kim’s success has been built on a diverse mix of interests over the years including media, influencer marketing, clothing, celebrity, mobile gaming, fragrances, endorsement deals, real estate, and investments.

It’s more important than ever to never let people place you in one box - some of the people who once looked down on Kim for her controversy-fuelled rise to fame ended up not only accepting her but helping her build the billion-dollar empire she has today. While these things may seem out of reach for most people, this can still apply to everyday situations. Some people will never be worth it but if you keep working boss girls then many people will be forced to give you the opportunities they once denied you.

Diversifying means more than just being involved in multiple ventures, it also means having the ability to pivot within these ventures when needed. An example of this from Kim’s business journey is when during the pandemic Kim helped shift the focus of her shapewear brand Skims to loungewear to suit the change towards staying at home more in her audience.

Kim Kardashian's brand skims

Kim’s business empire also includes shares of Netflix, Disney, Adidas, and Amazon as well as real estate including three Calabasas properties. Other ventures have included the kids clothing company Kids Supply Kim launched with her soon-to-be ex-husband Kanye West.

These large-scale investments will be unreachable for many of us right now, however, there is nothing stopping you from diversifying your portfolio or at least your interests at an early stage in your BossGirl journey.

Kim’s journey also shows us the importance of surrounding yourself with other people who will help you build your success as much as you help build theirs. Many of these people for Kim have been family members. We can’t all rely on our family or expect them to have the same goals as us, however, we can go out and network with other emerging BossGirls of the future. When doing this, it’s important to help them with their goals as well as getting their help with your career. Always ask yourself “what value can I provide this person with?”, if you start by helping other emerging entrepreneurs you will likely find the support network you will need to organically grow for you too.

Another lesson we learn from Kim’s rise is ownership. It would have been much harder for Kim to gain her $1 billion net worth without owning a majority stake in Skims, the shapewear company she launched in 2019. It can be hard to retain ownership all the time, especially earlier on in your career and Kim wouldn’t have always been able to own majority stakes in her ventures. When you’re building your leverage in your industry, being part of a big opportunity can be more important than having ownership - you don’t want to be in a position where you have majority ownership of a situation with little quality opportunity involved. However, it’s important to know the value of your contributions and push for as much ownership as possible. One tip for gaining ownership is being fair - if you advocate for the ownership of a project that you truly deserve while also advocating for other important contributors sharing ownership too, this could be better received than being greedy and lobbying for a level of ownership that’s harder to justify. Some people have made less in the short term in order to retain ownership in the long run, however not all entrepreneurs have the privilege or opportunity to do this. Without ownership though, the path to the highest levels of wealth becomes even tougher

Kim Kardashian at the forbes summit

Other standout moments in Kim’s journey to billionaire status were her ‘Hollywood’ mobile game business (which earned her $51million in 2015), past Kimoji app success, and selling a 20% stake of KKW Beauty to Coty for $200million.

A key lesson we can learn is knowing when to sell: Kim retained ownership of KKW Beauty when building the company, which meant she was able to gain so much wealth from selling a stake in her company. Even after selling this 20% stake in KKW Beauty to Coty, Kim retained a majority stake in the company (estimated at 72%), showing just how important ownership has been to her rise.

In the words of Kim herself #NotBadForAGirlWithNoTalent. There is a lot more we can learn from Kim and analyze about her rise. Would you like to see more Boss Girls Now coverage of Kim’s business ventures? What do you think of Kim’s journey?

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Go on girl, do your thing and be the boss. X